I grew up seeing my mother do it all… AND WITH A JOYFUL HEART! (Most of the time, anyway.) God definitely called my mom to be a teacher; she found so much joy teaching Middle School English for over 40 years. (Even though she’s retired now, she still tries to substitute in the classrooms as often as she can.) After a full day of teaching over 100 seventh graders, it was understood by all that the first half hour at home was her time to lie down on the couch with her eyes shut. This was her way of decompressing. Then, like clockwork, she was up and moving again helping with homework, making dinner, folding laundry, and always reminding my two older brothers and me to pick up our clutter along the way. And this was all before dinner!
On the other hand, Dad would come home from work at about 6:30 (sometimes later), and the whole family scrambled to meet him at the door with my mother leading the way. After a sweet kiss, mom stepped aside, and the rest of us had our turn to give him a big hug. Then Dad would put away his briefcase, change his clothes, and make his way to his favorite red chair to watch the news until dinner was ready. I understand now that this was equivalent to mom’s 30 minutes of shut-eye, but as a kid, I always thought Dad had it made!
With the table set and a full meal ready, we all sat, prayed, and then ate. If anything were missing from the table, Mom always jumped up to get it. (Eventually she asked one of us kids to retrieve it when we were old enough.) Dad, however, did not have to move. Dinner conversations were usually about the day’s events. Both parents were extremely attentive while listening to each of us describe what cool, silly, or nerve–wracking things happened at school. Eventually, though, attention turned to them discussing their day, which basically meant that Dad would talk about his day. This was neither an arrogant nor ignorant move on my Dad’s part; it was just that my mom always steered the conversation back to him.
After dinner, Dad would retire to his favorite chair for more news and maybe a glass of red wine. Mom, on the other hand, led the kids in clearing the table, cleaning the kitchen, and making lunches for the next day. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized once we were in bed, Mom still had to grade papers or iron clothes for the next day.